The short answer: It is not recommended.
The long answer: It might be tempting to allow your dog to eat your ice cream on a scorching hot day, but you must limit it to just a few licks. Ice cream is a frozen treat that is made up of milk, cream, sugar, and eggs—ingredients that do not sit well with some dogs.
For starters, your dog may be lactose intolerant, which means he cannot break down the natural sugar called lactose that is found in dairy products. Aside from the possibility of triggering his allergies, milk and cream can cause gas, digestive upset, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and/or vomiting. The high sugar and fat content in ice cream is also not recommended for dogs who are overweight or have diabetes. Lastly, be wary of ingredients in your ice cream such as xylitol (an artificial sugar substitute), raisins, macadamia, and chocolate that are known to be lethal for dogs.
If you would like your dog to experience the joys of eating ice cream, stick to basic flavors such as vanilla and read the label/ask the ice cream maker which ingredients were mixed into the icy refreshment before allowing your dog to try it. Better yet, go for dog-friendly options such as dairy-free ice cream or frozen fruits (check out our list of dog-friendly fruits!). You can even make your own homemade ice cream.
What to do if your dog accidentally eats ice cream: Observe your dog’s reaction to the ice cream he consumed. If he does not start itching or display any abdominal discomfort, he’ll be fine. However, if you find him experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, take him to the vet immediately. If you already know that the ice cream contains xylitol, take your dog to the vet right away.
In summary: Eating ice cream may feel like a highly enjoyable experience for pooches but in reality can be quite lethal. It is also low in nutritional value, and serves no real purpose for your dog. The high lactose, sugar, and fat content may also cause unwanted side effects to your furry friend’s health, so it’s best to keep it away from him.